Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year's Celebrations with Baby

So, it is your first New Year's celebration with baby? You probably have one of two plans in mind. Either you are hiring a babysitter and heading out or you are staying in for a boring night with the baby and your partner. Well, it does not have to be that way!

You can have a wonderful evening with your baby still around. If you are like me, then you are at least sentimental about the first year of holidays with your little one. While you know that he or she will not be able to celebrate the holiday, you still will find that you want to spend it with your wee one. Here are a few ways that you can spend the new year with your baby and not feel like a curmudgeon.

One option is to plan to spend it with other couples with children. If you have friends with little ones, then you can ask them over. If there are five or fewer children, you can toss them in the living room with some toys while the adults entertain themselves. Try getting wine and a few small appetizers for the adults at the party. Be sure that you break out baby's best toys to entertain the other children and get some quiet activities, such as coloring books for any older children.

If you will have older children, get some blankets and pillows in case they want to stay up until midnight. Your baby will not be able to stay up so be sure that you will be able to steal away from the party for long enough to put him or her to sleep. Also plan for white noise, such as a box fan, so that your baby will not be bothered by the noise of everyone at the party.

If you have a larger number of friends or a bigger group of kids, then you can consider asking a neighborhood teen to watch the children. That way you and the parents can have a great time together without worrying about the children. You can make this shindig inexpensive by asking the other parents to bring something. You are not looking for anything elaborate because you will be taking bites of food in between running after children and comforting crying babies. Instead ask them to bring veggies and dip, chips, or pre-made shrimp cocktails.

Another option is to spend the night alone with baby. If you do not have any friends with small children, then this option may be a better one for you. You and your partner should have a normal dinner and treat baby like everything is grand. Okay, maybe you turn on the tube for a little of the early parties that will be showing and you sing a rousing chorus of "Auld Sang Lyne" with your baby.

Then once the little one is all tucked in, you and your partner can break out the big guns. You can turn on the television to watch Times Squares, put on music, or do whatever makes you feel great heading into the new year, even if it is just cuddling on the couch and talking about the past year in your lives.

You should, however, plan a mini-celebration. You should have a bottle of wine, some good cheese and bread, and sit down to have the food. You can even make a small vegetable tray or have some chips and dip (great if you are celebrating football bowls on New Year's Day). Make it a night for the two of you to remember. Then once you go to bed, you can feel that you had fun, got to kiss and snuggle with your honey on New Year's Eve, and still remember that you are parents.

The key is to have fun this New Year's Eve if you have a baby or if you are expecting a baby. There is no need to go out. You can pick up some confetti and have a big smooch when the ball drops without all the hoopla of ridiculous lines, cover charges, and overpriced beer. Feel free to celebrate, though. Having a baby does not mean your days of fun are over, just that they have changed focus a bit.

By Julia Mercer

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